Episodes in the adventurous life of the American novelist (1876-1916).



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Freda Maloof
Prof. Hilliard
Old Tom
George Brett
Jonathan Hale ...
Kerwin Maxwell
Louise Beavers ...
Mammy Jenny
Leonard Strong ...
Captain Tanaka
Scratch Nelson
Albert Van Antwerp ...
French Frank (as Albert van Antwerp)
'Lucky Luke' Lannigan
English Correspondent
Hobart Cavanaugh ...
Mike, Saloonkeeper


Episodes in the novelist's life: In 1890, young Jack London quits a cannery job to try oyster piracy. Later, he signs on for a sealing voyage, tries Yukon prospecting and a brief university career, loving and leaving women along the way. Instead of riches, he gets story ideas. Suddenly, he finds success and a delectable lady; but the urge to adventure won't let him go. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

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The true report of the first American prisoner of the Japs. See more »


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Release Date:

24 December 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Adventures of Jack London  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The earliest documented telecast of this film in New York City occurred Saturday 17 April 1948 on WNBT (Channel 4). In Los Angeles, television viewers got their first look at it Tuesday 8 March 1949 on KNBH (Channel 4). See more »

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User Reviews

Jack London's Yellow Peril
7 August 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Jack London's life was certainly colorful enough for a dozen films about different aspects of him. Sad to say though that what his life was used for in film was some wartime propaganda that put the best face on some of the least attractive parts of his character.

Jack London who barely saw the age of 40 when he died wrote some of the best stories around. He wrote on what he knew, but he also wrote as does everyone else bringing the baggage of his own life experience with him. Some of that experience in another day and time would have been condemned as racism. But this was World War II and London was a big believer in the 'yellow peril' as it was called back in the day.

Two thirds of the film covers his life as author, we see his years as a seaman from where he got the inspiration for The Sea Wolf. We see him up in the Yukon in a miner's cabin with a dog that was no doubt his inspiration for The Call of the Wild. London was able to capture the spirit of adventure that his own life was all about right on paper for the world to enjoy ever since.

The final third dealt with his time as a war correspondent covering the Russo-Japanese War. London was a socialist, but his socialism did not encompass folks who were Oriental. Like a few million others he saw the rising immigration of the Chinese and Japanese to our Pacific coast as a threat to jobs for the white people. He advocated strict immigration policies for Orientals.

The film puts the cart before the horse. London is presented as a man who saw because he was on hand at the Russo-Japanese War what Japan's ambitions were and for that reason was as xenophobic as he was. Actually the kind of atrocities present in World War II were not existent during the Russo-Japanese conflict. Japan had her imperial ambitions, but so did everyone else including the USA at that time. But our immigration policies caused by pressure from our West Coast politicians was a big contributing factor to the deterioration of relations with Japan over a couple of generations. London was part of the cause not a prophet crying in the wilderness.

This film was the first independent production of Samuel Bronston who later did some films with a bit more budget than Jack London. Had he a bit more money Bronston might have gotten James Cagney or Spencer Tracy, both who would have been right for the role. Instead they got Michael O'Shea who was making his second film after Lady of Burlesque. O'Shea is fine in the part, but certainly was no box office.

As London is covering the war, he meets up with a Captain Tanaka who is played by Leonard Strong, an actor who specialized in Orientals and played a ton of them in World War II. From the vantage point in 1905 Strong outlines in the best Fu Manchu tradition Japan's imperial aims right up to taking on the USA eventually. Must have gone over great with the swing shift crowd.

A lot of course is left out of London's life including a first wife. Playing the second and only wife in this film is Susan Hayward who only comes into the movie when it's half over. I wish we'd have seen more of her. Charmian Kittredge London survived her husband by almost 40 years dying in 1955.

O'Shea in fact met and married the leading lady of his life in Jack London. Virginia Mayo has a small role in Jack London and they married for 30 years until O'Shea died in 1973.

Maybe one day we'll get a view of Jack London that will be a lot better than this one.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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